Cycling is always a good start to the day – so we decided to cycle to breakfast.
Cycling from Wallaroo to Kadina is a mere 8km. The route is simple – as it is along the old rail trail. The benefit of this means the route is largely flat – and easy to find.
AS you can see but he photo the path is pretty wide and good enough for gophers. Just take a closer look at the symbols on the signed post.
There are a few times you have to cross roads – but the sight lines are really good, and there is not much traffic. Along the rail trail there are a number of historical signs, and shelters and seats. The scenery surrounding the ride was farms, run-down buildings, fields.
The weather for the ride was pretty good – as you can tell by the photos it was a perfect morning.
Getting to Kadina is easy.. and getting to the centre of town when you reach the end of the trail is even easier by the large sign which tells you “town centre”. Following the road takes you to the centre of town and the array of small shops and historical buildings.
Thankfully we easily found our breakfast spot – corner of Hallet Street and Taylor Street. Just perfect!
Our early morning ride was just over 18km.
While the purpose of our trip was to scout the “walk the Yorke” this was a simple little rail trail which was worth the diversion.
The last time we caught a plane was in January, as we returned from our eight day trip in NZ over Christmas & New Year. It seems so long ago now. As luck would have it we had no holidays planned for 2020.. except for weekend trips to MEL, CBR, and SYD. We had lots of discussion – “we could go to Japan for three weeks”… (although this seems the default plan). Unlike many people who had overseas holiday’s booked and now cancelled, we are counting ourselves as extremely lucky for not reserving a lump of leave for far off exciting destinations. For those of you who are in that position – I can only imagine how hard/difficult/challenging this year is fast becoming.
At work I keep reminding people of the importance of taking a holiday for their wellbeing – I finally I took my own advice and we have taken a week off.
Originally the plan was to cycle the Yorke Peninsula (walk the Yorke), in preparation for a 7-9 day bicycle ride with some friends from VIC and NSW. Due to a combination of limited planning, wet weather and the general malaise it changed by the end of last week to a couple of days. Given the weather we now think we will return to explore the Yorke further in October/November.
This morning, we packed the Brompton’s into the car along with some clothes and headed off to Tiddy-Widdy beach near Ardrossan. Before you start to complain… the name comes from the Aboriginal name of Titty Witty Titty – and here is the photo where you can read it yourself.
Apparently the area is also well known for death adders. Yes you read that correctly – snakes. Thankfully we didn’t see them – but the coastline along the trail is very picturesque.
The ride is fairly easy, and the yellow markers along the trail at key turning points are well signed. There are many well known marked rides around the world (England…) which are not well signed. The Walk the Yorke trail itself is a mix of dolomite (its mined around in the area) and gravel. Some areas are better compacted than others. Meaning the trail is good for mountain bikes, hybrids, or if you have knobby tyres. Bromptons are pretty good too 🙂
We continued on the trail through Ardrosson, past the silos, lock out point to the open mine and down to James Well. At the end of the road there are memorials to nine female sperm whales which beached themselves in the area in 2014.
The trail from here gets a little bumpy.. and with the very steep hills walking always comes in as a good second option. At the point below we decided to turn around and go back to Ardrossan so we could pick up a late lunch.
Whenever you see a jetty on holiday – you know we are going to have to walk on it. As a bonus this one had concrete and we could cycle
After getting back to the car we drove further along the coast to check-out the trail. There are some parts of the walk they they recommend cyclists to go on the road – this section looked okay to cycle on. The other option would be to walk on the beach where the trail is….
After this we stopped briefly in briefly in Port Vincent, and headed over to Wallaroo where we are staying for a couple of nights.
I say Hostel. You don’t think gourmet breakfast, do you? Well let me tell you Ikidane Cyclist Hostel had a great breakfast. The perfect start for any cyclist doing any part of the Shimanami Kaido. Please note the shoes left outside of the sleeping quarters.
On this day we were completing the ride from Imabari to Onomichi and then taking a Shinkansen to Tokyo. Onomichi is:
a quaint town located along the Seto Inland Sea.
known for the Temple Walk, a network of paths connecting 25 temples.
a famous sightseeing place that is characterised by a townscape that is brimming with a retro vibe.
probably most well known as the small port town at the starting point of the Shimanami Kaido.
The blue line is the official route, but some times going off-piste provides rewards. This is certainly true this day. I found it hard to limit the pictures in the gallery below. Because we:
discovered a mikan inspired toy capsule vending machine on the side of the road.
were alerted to the possibility of a close encounter with a wild boar.
were encouraged to have a beer by a portly statue.
became reacquainted with Cafe Via, who you might remember lost their Tokyo cafe in the recent typhoon.
discovered a famous korokke artisan.
This was all before lunch!
Again Takero used his local knowledge and language to find a unique lunch spot just a little bit of the blue line. On Innoshima island went to Manda Fermentation an international company, that unsurprisingly, specialises in fermentation.
Manda Fermentation at its headquarters has a garden, foot bath, store and cafe. I personally believe that all cycling routes should have a foot baths to revive cyclists tired feet.
We had lunch in the Cafe and a tried Manda’s amazake. Wikipedia tells me that amazakeis a traditional sweet, low-alcohol drink made from fermented rice. It is part of the family of traditional Japanese foods, made using the koji mould, that includes miso, soy sauce and sake. I say oishiii!
On the way to our final destination we came across the wonderful 70 Cafe with a beautiful view. At that point, I seriously contemplated resigning and opening a cafe…. It can’t be that good all year round can it?
I thought the name of 70 Cafe was because there was about 70kms to Imabari. But, its named after the owner’s pride an joy – the Toyota 70 Landcruiser.
It is surprising to learn that after all those amazing bridges the “New Onomichi” bridge does not have a lane for cyclists! But it does not matter because there is a frequent and cheap ferry service that is available for pedestrians and cyclists. When we arrive there was a small market along the foreshore. The foreshore does have a converted warehouse with food, accomodation and wonderful local goods.
We didn’t have enough time to explore much more of Onomichi as we had to catch the train. Perhaps next time we visit!
Takero, arigato-gozaimashita. Helen and I look forward to riding with you again.
A beautiful 42 km ride following a blue line across seven islands. There was no need for GPX file. There is useful information on the Kure Area Travel Report website.
Our starting point was Nigata Station – it took two trains from Hiroshima. A rapid service and then one stop on a local service.
To get to these seven islands we crossed seven bridges.
We also had a few tunnels to save our legs we benefitted from some tunnels. But a tunnel is always easier than riding over a hill.
Ate lunch at Marichan’s – her Okonomiyaki was sugoi oishiiii!! We required help from so locals to find the narrow lane that it was located on. We’ve taken a photo of lane to help you!
We took a short detour to visit an old Edo era village with many of its original buildings intact. Interestingly, it also had the bike used by the first Japanese person to ride around the world. At least, that’s our memory of the information at the site! We will stick with that.
At the end of the ride, we took a ferry to our overnight accomodation and the starting point for Day 3 of the Slow Tour – Imabari. Imabari is:
the second largest city in Ehime Prefecture
home to the Shimanami Kaido
shipbuilding town with a beautiful castle and an attractive old commercial district
We arrived in Japan from London at Tokyo International Airport (HND) walked briskly through immigration and customs to the arrivals hall where we met our friend, Takero. We promptly pulled out our pre-prepared cycling luggage – two Brompton Bags and two small panniers and our bikes ready for our flight Hiroshima.
In Haneda we took advantage of the luggage delivery service – which meant our big bike bags and our other suitcases would magically arrive at our hotel 4 days later and appear in our room! Awesome!
Perhaps what is more amazing is that the Japan Airlines transported our bikes without any protective bags to Hiroshima without incident. They carefully placed our bikes in the boxes shown above and added some protective bubble wrap. Here are our bikes in Hiroshima. It is a caring service.
the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture in Japan
is located on the broad, flat delta of the Ota River, which has 7 channel outlets dividing the city into six islands which project into Hiroshima Bay
an industrial city of wide boulevards and criss-crossing rivers along the coast of the Seto Inland Sea
a bright, modern city with a sad history: in 1945 it was the location of the world’s first nuclear bombing
Hiroshima is a convenient location for getting to the Tobishima Kaido and Shimanami Kaido. These two blue-line cycling routes are the the objective of our journey.
After at an awesome Okonomiyaki lunch – Hiroshima style, I did however plot a loop ride that took us past many of the interesting spots in Hiroshima.
Hiroshima is a mostly flat city. So included what seems to be the only hill. Up there is where the art gallery is! Some photos from the ride are below.
We came across some fellow travellers from Lithuania, they’ve been doing an epic ride over a couple of months in Japan that had bikes that matched ours.
Preparation for the big day ahead
Getting ready for the big ride the next day meant plenty of carb loading! Remember no gyoza, no life!
The object of this day in the town home to Boris Bikes and Boris himself was to sample a range of quietways, cycleways and cycle super highways while seeing the sights of London.
While we started with one plan we ended with another, in my opinion, far better one.
The ride started in Paddington and ended in Greenwich. Greenwich is:
an area of South East London
home to the Merdian Line, Cutty Sark, the Old Royal Naval College, the National Maritime Museum, and Greenwich Market.
the home of time, Greenwich is where eastern and western hemispheres meet.
famous for its naval and military connections and its green spaces.
on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The route we took was around 30kms in one direction. We took the London Riverbus back to Westminster.
The first part of the ride followed a quiet way through Hyde Park to Chelsea for breakfast at A Wanted Man.
We continued on the quiet way across the Thames and visited Battersea Park. This is a big park that includes and number of different uses and has a nice promenade next to the Thames. There are some paths for cyclists and other pedestrian only areas.
Westminster and the Super Cycle Highway
We crossed over the river on to one of the super cycle highways, which made for easy, safe and fast cycling. Good integrated lights. We crossed back again over the Vauxhall bridge to experience the South side again on the quiet ways again. They are not bad using less busy roads and some infrastructure -but they are slower and harder to follow.
Transport for London are planning to change the names from quiet ways and super cycle highways to just plain old cycle ways. But it misses the point that the name actually communicates useful information. What is even worse is that there must have been cycle route called the London cycle network, that are still signed but not maintained or promoted. London cycle routes are a bit confusing.
We continued on the super cycle highway until London Tower. At London Tower we learnt about the London river bus. This when we change our mind and decided to cycle to Greenwich.
We took the road across Tower Bridge to connect up with another quiet way to Greenwich. There is no cycle route over the Bridge but the traffic moves so slowly that a bike is the fastest way across.
The quiet way took us through areas definitely not on the tourist map. It is also the only time it rained. It must have been fate that it started to rain only as we came across a very nice coffee shop that did nice cheese toasties.
Well, I told you about Greenwich earlier in this post. Here are some photos from Greenwich and the ferry back.
I could not find any useful GPX files for this ride. Transport for London website does have cycling maps, which I used to get some ideas for this ride. But, the experience is quite frustrating.
Our Strava activity could be converted to a GPX file, by you would need to fix up some of our mistakes.
Cycling on holiday enables you to find interesting places which are not necessarily in the guide books. Our approach to bromptoneering is exactly that find a route and cycle it… if there is a major tourist attraction, we might stop to take a photo, if I’m lucky. But this approach also enables us to stop the moment we see something interesting. In Oxford it was the below sign which stopped us in our tracks.
It had all the right elements to attract Kym – “bakes here daily”, and good font. Kym managed to snaffle the last apple and custard buns (yeah us!) and they had filtered coffee (rare to find).
We later learnt the bread was made from stone ground flour milled locally. They make their own jams, as well as sourcing items they use from local producers. The taste was fabulous. We enjoyed the buns and had a great chat with the owner Hugo who was passionate about using local sources and their products. He suggested we return the next day for breakfast.. to try their bread as we would not regret it.
The next day… yes we returned..! Ah the smell of a bakery is fabulous in a morning.
We enjoyed a shared breakfast and a cardamon bun, and a cinnamon bun – delightful! We even bought a jar of their jam (let’s hope it makes it home). If we lived here we would be regulars.
If you find yourself in Oxford (thurs-sun) do your stomach a favour hop on bus (if you don’t have a bike) and go there… you will be happy!
Taking advantage of the good weather, and in search of old historic houses we decided on the final destination to be Burton Agnes Hall. However, to get to the start required a train trip. Please ask Kym about transport costs, it will be a rewarding conversation.
Why Burton Agnes Hall?
It’s an old Elizabethan stately home (constructed 1598-1610)
filled with variety of tapestries, art and ceramics
English garden and woodland (although end of season)
Good pub stop on the route.
Starting out at Driffield, had us going through the centre of the town. It was also market day – so we had a look around the stalls which comprised of bread, pork pies, tarts, olives, Turkish delight, cheap clothes, shoes, toys, concrete garden objects and plants.
Getting out of Driffield was pretty simple (oh … love small towns), and we were soon on the country roads. Surprisingly we did encounter traffic lights near roads works and building development on the edge of town.
The country roads are truely a pleasure to cycle. They may be one lane in both directions, but the drivers so far have been respectful. Once you get even further out from the little towns the roads are really only wide enough for one and a half cars. The below picture is a prime example. There were hardly any cars, and the most traffic we encounter on this day one these types of roads were two cars, a tractor, a couple of cyclists.
As you expected Kym had found the perfect stop for lunch at St Quintins Arms – menu below.
While the menu looked good – we both went for the lamb specials (apologies non meat eaters – on the bright side these people knew how they were looked after, where they came from etc). The taste was incredible, and match with sitting outside we were not disappointed by the entire experience at this place. If you are in Yorkshire – GO HERE.
While we enjoyed sitting outside we had to get going… back on the bike to the hall.
Railway Crossings Yorkshire Style
Along the route there were two occasions where we had to cross railway tracks through gates. These required checking to ensure no train was coming before going across the tracks. We were saying “I bet they hardly ever get used… “ when we crossed we saw lights down the track.. just to prove us wrong. These are only used by locals based on the signage.
Burton Agnes Hall and Gardens
In addition to the house, there is also an old church and and Norman building (at least I think that is what it was). The art works are of a broad range, as the family collects art and fine furniture. They even commissioned famous English tapestry designer Kaffe Fasset (yes Vivienne!) do create an original for their house >> see below.
The grounds are large and have a walled vegetable section – with maze. We only got lost once. In addition there is a children’s outside playground and woodland correct with wooden carvings. Like many of these places you can also grab a bite to eat and purchase plants. We had a quick food stop before catching the bus home – yeah for folding bikes! After 4pm it gets cold quickly and its best to be on the way home.
To get to the start of today’s ride we catch the train to Goole. <not mentioning price> the internal train interior reminds us of something from the 80s. I do feel for people who find it difficult to get up steps or in wheelchairs.
Today’s bike storage is pretty good – standard luggage storage – with carpet!
Our plan on this fine day is to cycle from Driffield (where we ended on day 1) to Burton Agnes Hall via a pub for lunch. Weather is due to be a lovely blue sky day of 15 degrees. Here is to a good ride – will let you know!